Fashion and appearance ESL lesson plans help English language learners put words to a pervasive aspect of everyday life.
In many ESL classrooms, some of the first lessons students encounter deal with personal descriptions. They learn how to say where they're from and to describe themselves and others as handsome, blond, studious, etc. Fashion and appearance is a logical progression from these descriptive words.
These lessons can also help students progress in their sentence construction and verb conjugation skills. Describing physical characteristics, nationality, personality traits, and emotions usually only requires use of the verb to be:
In addition to requiring a larger vocabulary of verbs, discussing clothing opens the door to the present progressive tense, with "He is wearing…" and similar descriptive sentences.
Fashion and appearance ESL lesson plans also work well with lessons on shopping. Once students have learned how to describe skirts, jeans, and shirts, one place they would logically use that knowledge is inside a clothing store. It gives the vocabulary a practical grounding. Expressing likes and dislikes is another lesson that flows naturally from descriptions of clothing.
Visuals are vital for fashion and appearance ESL lesson plans.
However, be careful when using advertisements. You want your students to describe a skirt, not feel compelled to visit the Gap and buy it. It may be useful to cut out individual articles of clothing from ads and paste them on another sheet of paper for classroom use.
These visuals and real-life examples can then be put to use by students practicing their verbal and written English skills.
Another potential classroom activity is to hold a fashion show, with students in charge of creating a new outfit and then describing it to the rest of the class. If students are self-conscious about appearing in front of everyone as a "fashion model," use dolls, paper cutouts, or other stand-ins to model different types of clothing. Students can bring their own personal style to the project while learning similar fashion-related vocabulary with their classmates.
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